Last Week, Raleigh Unveiled a New Logo. This Week, It’s Durham’s Turn. | Triangulator | Indy Week

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Last Week, Raleigh Unveiled a New Logo. This Week, It’s Durham’s Turn.


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Earlier this month, the city of Raleigh unveiled a new city logo, which came with a $226,000 price tag and some heated internet reactions.

Some thought the green, digitized tree was fresh and conveyed an eco-friendly message. Others—probably a majority of the Twitter commentariat—thought it flimsy, corporate, overpriced, and outdated.

Now the city of Durham is embarking on its own logo update, although residents may not notice much of a change.

Because city graphics, including the logo, are now primarily used electronically, the city is updating its standards manual ($20,000 was set aside for the process). As part of that update, it sought feedback on the current logo, which was adopted in 1991 and features the city flag, the year the city was incorporated (1869), and the words "City of Medicine."

Respondents (a mix of city representatives, marketing folks, and focus groups) largely gave "resounding negative feedback" on that tagline.

"At that time, Durham's identity as a healthcare leader was its primary strength, with a higher than average physician-to-population ratio, internationally recognized hospitals, and more than 300 medical and health-related companies," a staff memo reads. "Now, research respondents agreed that while the community's identity as a healthcare leader is still strong, other terms such as diversity, entrepreneurial, foodie, and technology could easily describe the community as well, and that the tagline never accurately represented the services and programs of city government."

Respondents also weren't keen on the year (many didn't know what it stood for).

So staff members came up with both vertical and horizontal options that remove the tagline and date and use fewer colors. The changes were approved unanimously on Monday night.

Craig Carter, who does social media for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau but appeared before the council Monday as a private resident, suggested an alternative logo that placed the word "Durham" in white letters inside the flag. City manager Tom Bonfield noted that the logo would be used for government business and needed to say "City of Durham."

Council member Charlie Reece admitted that the changes aren't "revolutionary" but said they're more user-friendly and step away from "antiquated" elements like the incorporation date.

Council member and mayor-elect Steve Schewel pointed out it was much cheaper than "Raleigh's tree."

"I was pleased that our logo is a heck of a lot better than theirs," he said.


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